Producer of some of the highest-profile films coming out of Israel – “A Borrowed Identity,” “Big Bad Wolves,” “A Matter of Size” Israel’s United Channels Movies (UCM) has just completed “Atomic Falafel,” A madcap comedy about a serious issue, a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is directed by Dror Shaul whose semi-autobiographical kibbutz-set debut, “Sweet Mud,” won a 2007 Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize.
Starring Germany’s Alexander Fehling (“Inglourious Basterds”), and a potential late summer/fall fest candidate, “Atomic” is co-produced by New Zealand’s General Film Corporation and Germany’s Arden Film, Getaway Pictures and Jooyaa Film.
Also written by Shaul, “Atomic Falafel” turns on two girls from nuclear towns in Israel and Iran who leak state secrets to thwart an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear plant. Doing so, it posits a Middle East where a young, Internet-connected generation, in order to be on the same wavelength, merely needs Wi-Fi, or a cable connection. Meanwhile, old generation war-horses, eye-patched, fanatical and warmongering, risk a global hecatomb.
A “crazy, sarcastic satirical comedy making fun of an ultra military mindset,” in UCM president-producer Avraham Pirchi’s words, “Atomic Falafel” has gained extra relevance given U.S. negotiations to limit Iranian nuclear program.
“When we started to make ’Atomic Falafel,’ we didn’t know we would be releasing the film when Iran’s nuclear power would be so relevant. But that’s what’s happened,” said Pirchi, clarifying that the film is “pro-peace, and optimistic.”
It will be released in Israel in August and has the makings of a hit with Israeli auds.
UCM is currently in talks with a potential international sales agent. The film may even snag some unidentified form of distribution in Iran, said Pirchi. UCM also produced “Yona,” directed by Nir Bergman, helmer of Berlin winner “Broken Wings” and co-creator and director of Israeli TV series “BeTipul,” which sparked U.S. HBO remake “In Treatment.” A portrait of boundary-breaking erotic poet Yona Wallach, “Yona” also looks set for a high-profile summer fest.
UCM’s 2009 title “A Matter of Size,” helmed by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon, looks to be advancing towards a U.S. remake.
Championed by Quentin Tarantino as the best film of 2013 and a Magnolia Magnet Releasing U.S pick-up, revenge thriller “Big Bad Wolves,” which won best director at Sitges, closed major distrib main territory deals with Germany’s Constantin Film and France’s Metropolitan Filmexport.
Sold by The Match Factory and bought by Strand Releasing for the U.S., Eran Ricklis’ “A Borrowed Identity” (aka “Dancing Arabs”) was one of the best received of 2014’s Locarno Piazza Grande titles.
“In the last four-to-five years, there has been a big new wave of talent coming from Israel in film and TV, said Pirchi, instancing HBO’s announcement in March that it would be remaking Israeli TV series “House of Wishes.”